fact-deficient Republican Party.
State Republican Party Chair Doyle Webb
blasted out a news release on social media yesterday suggesting Democratic Senate candidate Conner Eldridge
and the state Democratic Party
had not complied with campaign finance reporting rules.
His allegation appears to have been inaccurate, if not an outright lie. Contributions to a separate fund supporting Eldridge HAVE been reported individually, contrary to what Webb suggested. The contribution of money from that fund to the Democratic Party HAS been reported. Payments from that money have been made LEGALLY to the coordinated federal campaign effort under a written agreement between the Democratic Party and the Eldridge campaign. Eldridge's brother is manager of the coordinated campaign, thus he has been legally paid from coordinated campaign funds, says Democratic Party spokesman H.L. Moody.
Nonetheless, social media is full of Webb's allegation and at least one media outlet, the Arkansas News Bureau, reported it u
nder headline: "State GOP chairman accuses Dems of legal violation." The headline is accurate — as far as it goes. And reporter John Lyon went on to explain in the article why the accusation appears to be bogus through Democratic official response. (Doyle Webb was nowhere to be found then to back up his original assertion.)
Traditional journalism is sometimes ill-equipped for the lying liars of today's political world. (Trump anyone?) It is hard to ignore explicit political blasts like Webb's. But if they are to be reported at all, you wonder if they must always follow the charge/rebuttal model, rather than an approach that gets more directly at the truth of a story. I'd like to see a story headlined like this:
"Republican leader lies about opponent; dodges questions about facts."
The good news is that the Republican Party apparently HAS taken notice of Conner Eldridge, who is challenging Sen. John Boozman.
(He's the senior senator from Arkansas, a Republican, in case you are among many unfamiliar with the name for his lack of noteworthy record.)
A tale of media manipulation by the